Watch Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse school Amy Coney Barrett on dark money - 2020-10-13
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The confirmation hearing this week for Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, is largely a piece of political theater, whose outcome is already a given. "This is probably not about persuading each other unless something really dramatic happens," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) conceded in his opening statement Monday. "All Republicans will vote yes, and all Democrats will vote no." And Barrett will be confirmed to her lifetime appointment.
With no way to block the confirmation, Democrats instead have used the time to focus not so much on the nominee in front of them but on issues relevant to the process. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) took his full 30 minutes to provide a Schoolhouse Rock!–style tutorial on the dark money forces at work behind Barrett's nomination—a process he called "The Scheme." Citing the Washington Post, Whitehouse described a $250 million dark money operation designed to capture the courts and push cases to friendly judges in the hopes of favorable rulings. "Two hundred and fifty million dollars is a lot of money to spend if you're not getting anything for it," he said. "So that raises the question: What are they getting for it?"